25 - 05 - 2024

Summary of my home lab workstation

Money saving are crucial in life, especially when you are the father of two amazing daughters;) That's why I build my workstation of top of Server Components, which are much cheaper then usual Desktop components. The reason is obvious, only from some time we can put Xeon processors into usual Desktop motherboard - but not in all of them...


My previousl Home LAB (v4) was build on the following components:

  • Motherboard: Asus P5E-VM DO (with VT-d support)
  • Processor: Intel Quad Core Q6600 (overclocked to 3,2 GHz)
  • RAM: 4x2GB = 8GB DDR2 NonECC (Corsairs XMS2 / Kingston)
  • HDD: 1x80GB, 2x250GB RAID1
  • OS: XenServer 6.0

The specification was useful for about 3-4years, but now in age of heavy virtualization of network devices it seems limited. The main barrier was amount of RAM I could have, even when I would have my mainboard changed to ABIT IN9 32X-MAX which supports 32GB of RAM it could be not enough. The second reason why not go with the Abit motherboard was clear enough, the 8GB DDR2 modules are horrible expensive - about ~80$ for each.

I've decided to buy new hardware, but as said at the beginning the money it's always a problem. The first step was selling of my current workstation on popular polish auction house. 

  • Motherboard with CPU  = SOLD FOR 250zł to my friend (its about 50£ / 80$)
  • RAM = SOLD FOR 310zł (its about 60£ / 110$)
  • Motherboard for Dell Optiplex FX160 = SOLD FOR 160zł to my friend (its about 30£ / 50$)

In Total I got 140£, which is a good start for looking new hardware ;]

The new hardware had to meet following requirements:

  • Be eligble to handle more then 96GB ram
  • Support of two CPUs
  • Support of Virtualization technology: especially VT-x, VT-d, VT-x with EPT
  • It have to be in tower case
  • And the most important be very cheap ;]

I have decided to look for Dell T5500 which suports upto 192GB ram with L5600 Xeon CPUs, and after a month of looking in UK and Poland I finnaly found IT !

The auction was listed in Polish auction house, buy seller which was new in the portal... It was very risky but there is an cash-back program. 
Workstation sold by the seller had following specification:

  • 2x Xeon L5504 (Dual Core procesors) - but the more important for was information that the riser was already included !! it costs about 70$ on the ebay US
  • RAM: 3GB but it was not a problem, the 2GB module  I have sold for 10$ 
  • One 250GB HDD
  • Geforce 8600 with passive cooling !! awesome !

I bought it for 1100zł(220£ / 370$ ) including the delivery, minus the  cash from old hardware = 80£ / 130$ I had to pay.

But it was not end of my shopping. Meanwhile I was putting the money for the new hardware, I was working with settiing up the operating system and solutions...

My last piece of hardware was:

  • 2x8GB = DDR3 ECC 1333MHz Samsung bought for 59$ in US (deliver to Poland by my ant)
  • 4x8GB = DDR3 ECC 1666MHz Samsunng bought in UK for 72£
  • 2xXeon L5630 CPUs = Bought in US for 89$